10 months. Has it really been 10 months since I left home? It doesn’t seem possible, but the calendar doesn’t lie. I have a Peace Corps calendar hanging in my room. I also have a dry erase calendar on my wall too, thanks Megan! Anyways, I went through and marked the important dates- 10 months, 11 months, 1 year in Africa, halfway, etc. It is such an amazing feeling to look at the calendar and see my accomplishment every month for just being here.
Month 10. I’ve been busy dabbling in many projects. I attended a P.C. Permagarden Workshop in April and am now a member of my school’s Garden Committee. I was also appointed to the Library Committee and Fundraising Committee. Committees are a funny thing at my school. The management of my school just appointed the members and chairs of the committees. End of discussion. I wanted to stand up and tell them why don’t they ask for volunteers. Then the members will actually be interested and invested in the success of the committee. But if there is something I’ve learned in the past few months, it is to pick your battles. So I’ll leave the process for committee selections for another time.
The Library Committee hasn’t met yet. We did have a library. However, due to an increase of grade 1 learners this year, the library has become a ‘classroom.’ It’s not really a classroom; there are no desks or chairs. The learners sit on the floor with their books in their laps. One of my colleagues wants to fundraise to build a library, so maybe we will have a library coming!
Fundraising. The Fundraising Committee met last week. We are holding a raffle and market day this week to try and raise money. We sold raffle tickets last week. Then we are using that money to purchase the gifts to be raffled. It defies any logic to raffles, but it actually makes a lot of sense. Since we know how much money has been raised selling tickets, we can purchase items ensuring a profit. For the market day, we are buying snacks in bulk and then selling them during lunchtime. I am excited to see how this works and if we will make a decent profit.
The past few weeks I’ve also been busy helping my learners write letters to students at Our Lady of the Elms Elementary School in Akron, Ohio. I contacted the Elms back in November to set up penpals, They wrote us in February and the letters arrived at the beginning of April. I just mailed our responses at the beginning of May. When I started this project I thought it would take us two weeks. It turned into 4 weeks worth of efforts. It still amazes me how long things take in Africa. I am so proud of my learners though. They truly did an amazing job. I wish I could post the letters on here. One boy in my class wrote, “Do you love Jesus? I love Jesus. I wish he could be my dad.” Haha.
I’ve also been attending the sports competitions for my school. The local schools compete in soccer, netball, and volleyball. I am teaching a group of about ten 7th grade boys how to play volleyball. When we play against other teams, I also teach the other teams. Volleyball is such a new sport to the rural villages that we are starting with the basics- no more then 3 hits, rotating, and don’t punch the ball. Ooh the punching. It’s so annoying. The ball will be coming and they just stick a fist up and punch it. And it NEVER goes forward. Last match I told them if they punch the ball, I would punch them. Of course they all laughed. One boy said, “Miss you don’t use the stick. I don’t think you will punch us!” He had me there.
The last activity I’ve been busy with is called Grass Root Soccer. This is a program started out of Cape Town that is geared towards kids ages 10-19. I am using the program with 20 grade 7 learners. We meet every Monday and Wednesday to play games and discuss HIV/Aids. It’s a really fun way to talk to the kids about life choices and the hardships they face. This first group will be graduating soon, and then my counterpart and I will start up with a new group of kids!
That’s all for now. I’m excited to be back blogging. Check back soon for more updates. And thank you to all my friends and family who have supported me in my Peace Corps service so far, and will continue to support me. THANK YOU!!!!